Neil Thompson was a tall full back who was born in Beverley but came through the junior ranks at Nottingham Forest at the start of the 1980s. Before he had been handed a debut in the Forest first team Thompson joined Hull City in November 1981 and despite his tender years he was soon introduced to manager Mike Smith’s first team. Lurking in the lower half of the Division Four table and about to enter administration due to weak finances, Neil chose a challenging time to join his home town League club, within a few weeks Smith was sacked and the managerial duo of Bobby Brown and Chris Chilton took temporary charge. Brown and Chilton steadied the City ship and retained Thompson at left back for the rest of the season.
At the start of the 1982/83 season Colin Appleton was appointed manager at City and Thompson was handed the left back role during the early weeks of the season. However by mid September newly signed flame-haired wideman Billy Askew was given the role of attacking left back and Thompson was kept on the sidelines, making only sporadic appearances during the rest of the season. A run of five games at the end of the season meant that Neil was involved in the promotion celebration at Chester in April 1983, but City’s elevation meant the club looked elsewhere for left back options and Thompson, not yet 20, was allowed to leave during the 1983 close season.
In August 1983 Thompson signed for Scarborough, a move that revitalised his career. During the next six seasons he helped the Seadogs win promotion from the Conference to the Football League in 1987, then started practically every game for two seasons as Scarborough established themselves as a Football League side. In his role as attacking full back and occasional penalty taker, Thompson scored 17 times in 108 appearances over two seasons, ending his time at Scarborough in May 1989 with play-off semi-final defeat to Leyton Orient. In June 1989 he joined Second Division side Ipswich Town and served the Suffolk side for seven seasons. A first team regular for three seasons in the second tier, Thompson was part of the squad that won promotion to the Premier League as League Division One champions in 1992. He played three seasons in the top flight, though in his third season he was used only as reserve defender. In June 1996 he left Ipswich having made 236 senior appearances and scored 23 goals.
He returned north in June 1996 to sign for Ipswich’s League Division One rivals Barnsley. The Tykes won promotion to the Premier League in Thompson’s first season, in which he scored five goals in 28 appearances, then he made a further 4 appearances in the 1997/98 season, three of which were in the Premier League. Neil was again on the fringes of first team action at Barnsley and after loan spells at Oldham and York he joined the Minstermen in July 1998. York were relegated in Thompson first season at Bootham Crescent despite his six league goals and in March 1999 he was appointed player-manager. He made only half a dozen appearances in the 1999/00 season as he focused on the managerial role but he was sacked in February 2000. In October 2000 Thompson re-signed for Scarborough, who were back in the Conference, as player manager but that tenure lasted just under a year until September 2001. He joined Boston United as player-manager in July 2002 and kept that job for nearly two years before leaving in February 2004.
Thompson hung up his playing boots in 2004 and focussed on his coaching and managerial roles. He was on the coaching staff at Leeds United for 13 years then joined Sheffield Wednesday as first team coach in 2017. In December 2020 he was briefly elevated to caretaker manager at Sheffield Wednesday before returning to his role as first team coach two months later.
Date/Place of Birth: 2 October 1963, Beverley
Hull City First Game: 13 February 1982, Tranmere Rovers A (Division Four), 18 years, 134 days old
Hull City Final Game: 30 April 1983, Chester A (Division Four), 19 years, 210 days old
Nottingham Forest (1980-1981), Hull City (1981-1983), Scarborough (1983-1989), Ipswich Town (1989-1996), Barnsley (1996-1998), Oldham Athletic (1997-1998, loan), York City (1998, loan), York City (1998-2000), Scarborough (2000-2001), Boston United (2002-2004)
Hull City Record
Career: 34 apps, 0 goalsNeil Thompson
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